BURKE, S.D. (KELO) — It only took between 10 and 15 minutes for a powerful storm to tear apart homes and businesses in the town of Burke.
The late Tuesday night storm brought 100 mile an hour winds and an EF1 tornado. It touched down near the fire station, in the center of town, blowing out windows and ripping down walls. Town leaders are asking people to stay out of Burke, while the people who live there assess the damage. There’s a lot of clean-up, and debris stretches from one of town to the other.
A tornado tore through the town hard and fast. For everyone who calls Burke home, coming to terms with the sight of their town is a slow and painful process.
“It was somewhat of a shock. It’s also disheartening. There’s a lot of damage. There’s a lot of psychological damage, plus structural damage,” Mayor Tom Glover said.
The storm covered a nearly quarter mile path, and trapped two people under a garage when it collapsed on them. The Burke Volunteer Fire Department information director says the two have minor injuries, but should be okay.
“We did a house to house search twice last night to make sure everybody was okay, everybody was accounted for,” Michael Karbo, Burke Volunteer Fire Department information director, said.
Crews are trying to re-open streets and alleys, as well as restore electricity to everyone.
“It’s tough. It gets pretty emotional and we just, it’s going to be a lot of clean-up. It’s a good community and everybody takes care of each other,” Karbo said.
“We’re trying to get things going. It takes a lot of time, takes a lot of effort. We’ve got a lot of really good volunteers,” Glover said.
Glover says there’s a plan to help people who can’t stay in their homes. If the damage is that severe, and somebody needs a place to stay, the town is sending them to stay at the hospital. Burke leaders want to thank neighboring volunteer fire departments who are helping.
For everyone who calls Burke home, it’s tough to see where you live scattered throughout town. Wednesday is a slow and painful process, but Glover says tomorrow will better.
“Our community is strong. It’s held together in the past. Always does,” Glover said.